The Leak in The Dyke

Dan HoehneContributor ISeptember 10, 2008

This wouldn't be the first time a professional athlete has crumbled under the pressure and, rest assured, it won't be the last.

Not to say Vince Young can't recover from the first blow to his humility.

The vast majority of professional athletes in our modern times have been coddled, put upon a pedastal and told that nothing they could do was wrong, from the time they were 8-years old.

Up through the high school ranks it goes. The adoration, the adulation, the continual admiration that tells them they can do nothing wrong.

And that goes beyond the field of action.

Having reached the pros and become a stalwart defender, it was found that Dexter Manley could barely read at an eighth grade level.

On through college, where winning with the talent that has been cultivated is at a much higher premium than on the high school level.

So of course, more heads will be turned off the field, as the cheers for the new savior become ever louder.

An athlete who is head and shoulders above his peers only knows, only feels, only has access to that side of it.

The adulation, the cheers, the continued pats on the back as grade after grade is passed through.

But it's not even so much about the academic side of things, it is more the psychological side.

Up until he is 18, 19, 22 years old, all this young man has known is that he's better than most in what he does, and everyone around him constantly reminds him of that.

So when he gets to the next level, the ultimate level, where he is no longer head and shoulders above everyone else, but just another talented athlete who will have to work hard to even earn his place....what then?

For the first time in his life, he won't be able to automatically rise above the competition...he won't always be the hero.

He might often be the goat, the weak link in that week's loss.

For many of us, another loss is a moment of daily life.

For these people, it's unforseen territory.

And as much as I wanted to turn this into an article on the foolhardy practices of today's suburban parents wanting their childred to win an award for any accomplishment achieved, I couldn't.

Because Vince Young was a Jesus of Suburbia, as many are.

He is just a sensitive child that is representative of the modern era to which I write.

A quarterback, the central and seminole figure of any football team.

Only knowing success, for all his years at the position.

Gets to the NFL, ripe off a National Championship and Heisman Trophy win, and of course, he expects to take the next level by storm.

His initial step into the mix, he continues to do what he did.

He takes over games.

Uses his oft-relied upon natural ability to get it done.

But then the adjustment comes.

As in all sports - surprise us, and we'll adjust.

The onus then goes back to the young stud, to adjust his game for what the league has adjusted to.

Thus far, Vince hasn't really been able to.

Not saying it's an easy task.

It has often been what separated the true pros from the pretenders.

The Hall of Famers from the mere All Pros.

Point being, it's all about the mental toughness that tells us either Hall or bust.

Vince seems to have a world of ability, but can his ego take the hit?

A sensitive man, who absorbs the new-found criticism as an intitial blow.

Can he respond and react in an "I will prove them wrong" manner, or will he shrink from the harsh criticism a home-town NFL crowd can produce?

As a fellow human, I pray for him and am sure he will be fine, as his family support is obviously strong.

Looking, as a fan, of the NFL, I shake my head and wonder if he can make it back and befuddle us all.

I hope he does.

For if he doesn't, as I alluded to earlier, the next generation coming up....they will all be too fragile.



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